If you want to enhance your body shape or you feel that your breasts are too small, then you may be trying to decide whether a breast augmentation or breast implants are the right options for you. At The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery in Orlando, FL, we understand there can be some confusion about what each of these procedures will do for your body goals. Learn more about these breast procedures before you schedule your consultation appointment.
What Is the Difference Between a Breast Augmentation and Breast Implants?
In general, most breast procedures are seen as elective or purely cosmetic surgeries, but that isn’t always the case. Between breast augmentation and breast implants, there are several reasons why you may elect to have these procedures. For example, sometimes these breast procedures can be reconstructive following a mastectomy or an injury. Other times, augmenting the shape or prize of the breast can have physical benefits, such as reducing skin chafing or pinching from restrictive bras.
But what’s the real difference between these two procedures? It’s a common belief that augmentation and implants both do the same thing – enhance the size or shape of the breasts – but there is more nuance to these procedures to consider.
Breast augmentation is typically a restorative treatment that can increase breast volume, correct asymmetry, reconstruct lost breast tissue. Augmentation can be a tremendous tool for refining the shape of the body to achieve specific beauty goals, especially for post-pregnancy or post-breastfeeding women.
In terms of public perception, because augmentation is tied closely to reconstruction, people tend to associate this procedure with being restorative and not purely cosmetic. However, just like any other breast procedure, there may be different reasons why a woman may have breast augmentation.
Breast implant procedures generally involve increasing breast volume to enhance the body shape and are generally considered a cosmetic procedure. Implants are usually used for women who have small breasts, sagging breasts, or breasts that have less volume. However, unlike augmentation, the amount of volume correction that can be achieved with implants can be more drastic.
Additionally, breast implant procedures typically have more decisions involved. For example, patients have to choose between the type of implants (saline, silicone, gummy), the shape of the implants (round or teardrop), and even the placement of the implants (above or below pectoral muscle) in order to achieve their specific aesthetic goals.
How to Choose Between Breast Augmentation and Breast Implants
Since both breast procedures share many common factors and end results, it can be difficult to choose the procedure that is right for you. But while both procedures can accomplish the same general goals, there are many factors to consider to determine the procedure that will achieve each of your aesthetic goals in a way that will be easy for you to maintain. Some factors to help your decision making will include:
Your Desired Outcome
Your overall aesthetic goals are probably the most important consideration to make. For example, if your desired outcome is to subtly increase the size of your breasts or correct the shape of your breasts, then an augmentation procedure is likely a better fit for your needs. On the other hand, if you want to increase the size of the breasts only, then implants may be a better option.
The amount of enhancement you want to achieve is also important to consider. For example, women who want to increase at least one cup size tend to choose augmentation while women who want to increase more than one cup size use implants.
Your Reconstructive Needs
For women who have reconstructive needs, augmentation may be able to save partial breast tissue. Your provider will be able to give you more information about reconstructive procedures available to you based on the existing breast tissue you have. Many breast cancer survivors prefer augmentation over implants because augmentation restores a more natural-looking breast, while implants may be too drastic of a change after a mastectomy.
Your Personal Preference
Your personal preferences are another major factor in determining which procedure is right for you. Many women prefer results that are discreet or subtle so that attention isn’t drawn to their results; in these circumstances, both implants and augmentation can be done in such a way that the results feel natural. However, if you want your results to also feel more natural or you don’t want to use foreign materials to alter the size or shape of your breasts, then augmentation may be the right way to go.
It’s worth noting that modern implant procedures tend to use materials and techniques that mimic the natural look and feel of the breasts. Overall, many women who have implants are able to enhance the size and shape of the breasts in a way that looks natural and feels natural. For this reason, your personal preference will typically come down to whether or not you want foreign materials in your body.
Your Procedure Options
Finally, the options you have for your procedure may also be a factor. Augmentation procedures tend to be a bit less invasive than implant procedures, but even implant procedures can use techniques that involve only small incisions. One of the more important factors to consider is recovery time. Because it takes less time to recover from augmentation surgery, many women select this procedure if it lines up with their enhancement goals.
Benefits of Breast Procedures
Whether you’re opting for breast augmentation or breast implants, there are several benefits you may want to consider. For example, the longevity of the procedures, the goals you want to accomplish, and other factors can all increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. Some benefits for these procedures include:
Most natural breasts are asymmetrical, but usually, the amount of asymmetry isn’t bothersome or is subtle enough that many women don’t notice the difference. However, when the amount of asymmetry is particularly noticeable, it can make women feel self-conscious about the appearance of their breasts. When one breast is one or more cup sizes larger than the other, it can make the areola and nipples noticeable mismatched in height or size. Both augmentation and implants are capable of correcting asymmetry in the breasts, either in size, shape, or even nipple placement.
Age-related volume loss happens to skin all over the body – and it can happen to breast tissue, as well. As we age, the skin of the breast becomes thinner and it’s not uncommon for fatty tissues in the breast to also increase with aging. The elasticity of the muscle tissue and glandular tissue also decreases as women age, which can make women feel that their breasts are sagging.
Loss of breast tissue or changes in breast tissue related to aging can even cause strain in the shoulders and back. For women who want to rejuvenate the appearance of the breasts, augmentation is typically the best choice since this procedure can tighten loose skin and tissues to create firmer breasts.
Restore Breasts Post-Pregnancy
Many women who are considering either implants or augmentation are dealing with post-pregnancy changes to the breasts. During pregnancy, the size of the breasts increases due to milk production, but after breastfeeding, without any more milk production breasts typically become looser than they were before pregnancy. This can cause many women to feel self-conscious about the appearance of their breasts. Both augmentation and implants are good surgical options to restore the shape of the breasts after pregnancy.
Refresh After Weight Loss
Just like pregnancy, rapid changes in body weight can also change the size and shape of the breasts. Women who have undergone significant weight loss tend to find that breast tissue and skin are looser than before, which can affect the overall satisfaction with the weight loss results. Implants and augmentation procedures can each refresh the appearance of the breasts after weight loss and even help women achieve specific body shape results.
For women who have survived breast cancer, it can be a sensitive topic to talk about the appearance of the breasts. But many survivors find that restoring the appearance of the breasts helps them find closure after breast cancer. Reconstruction of the breasts can be accomplished with both augmentation and implants depending on the amount of remaining breast tissue and how much reconstruction must be done to achieve desired results. Reconstructed breasts allow women to feel like themselves again.
The last benefit to consider for these breast procedures is the increase in self-confidence. Many women experience low self-esteem when they feel the size or shape of their breasts does not fit their lifestyle or aesthetic goals. Breast procedures that correct the size, shape, or symmetry of the breasts can help women feel more comfortable and confident about their overall appearance.
Other Breast Procedures
Breast augmentation and breast implants aren’t the only breast procedures. While they may be the most common breast procedures, there are several other surgical solutions that can address different breast concerns, such as breasts being too large. Some other breast procedures include:
A breast lift is most similar to an augmentation because it helps tighten and lift existing breast tissue. Although a type of augmentation procedure, a breast lift is designed to only use your own tissue to elevate the breasts and does not alter the size of the breasts at all. This procedure is most beneficial when a woman wants to rejuvenate the appearance of the breast or correct age-related asymmetry without altering the general size or shape of the breast.
A breast reduction is essentially the opposite of an augmentation procedure. A reduction is designed to reduce the size of the breast, which can also correct breast shape or asymmetry. Breast reductions are typically chosen by women whose breasts are too large for their body frame or for women who are experiencing body pain because of overly large breasts. For example, large breasts can sometimes cause back pain, shoulder and neck strain, and also make it difficult for supportive bras to fit without tightness or chafing.
Breast Implant Revision
Although breast implant surgery is designed to maintain results for at least 10 to 20 years depending on the type of implant used, some women will decide that the size of their implants needs to be revised. Usually, this happens when implants need to be repaired or replaced, but some women use implant revision to shrink the overall size of implants.
Find Your Perfect Breast Procedure Match Today
From augmentation to implants, there are many factors that are involved when you try to determine the best breast procedure for you. When you attend a consultation, we will be able to help you decide which breast procedure matches your aesthetic goals the best. Contact The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery in Orlando, FL to schedule your consultation today.